Painting of the Battle of San Jacinto, by Henry A. McArdle, 1895
The banner at the top of this unused linen-type C.T. Art-Colortone postcard, by Curt Teich & Co., Chicago, identifies the painting found in the Texas State Capitol at Austin as the Battle of San Jacinto that occurred on 21 April 1836. The painting was photographed by Ellison to be made into the card.
The card has a divided back with the number 5A-H2401 at the lower right corner. Several postcard companies used coded letter and number systems to date their cards making it sometimes possible to narrow the time when it was published. In this case the 5A tells us that the card was produced in 1935 and the H identifies it as Colortone or Colorit, both processes exclusive to Curtis Teich & Company. Colortone was a five-color process made on linen finish stock from a black and white photo. Colorit was a similar process but with a deckle or ragged edge to the cards.
Battle statistics are printed on the reverse of the card showing it lasted 18 minutes and won independence for Texas from Mexico resulting in the following casualties: Texans – 2 killed, 23 wounded; Mexicans – 630 killed, 228 wounded, 780 captured. Other accounts give 11 Texans killed or fatally wounded, 30 wounded; 650 Mexicans killed with 208 wounded and 300 captured.
Henry Arthur McArdle (1836-1908) also known as Harry McArdle was an American painter born in Ireland of French and Irish ancestry who came to the United States as a teenager to study at the Maryland Institute College of Art. During the Civil War he was a cartographer under Robert E. Lee. After the war he moved to Texas where he worked at Baylor University and Baylor Female College. This painting of the Battle of San Jacinto is his most famous work. In one version Sam Houston is shown waving his hat. Completed in 1875 the original painting hung in the Texas State Capitol building until the building was destroyed in a fire in 1881. McArdle completed another version in 1905 featuring Davy Crockett, James Bowie and William B. Travis. Both paintings were purchased from the family by the State of Texas after McArdle’s death and now hang in the Senate Chamber of the Texas State Capitol. The painting on the postcard above most closely appears to resemble the 1895 version.
The battle was held in what is today Harris County, Texas with General Sam Houston leading the Texan Army against President and General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. As mentioned above the battle lasted approximately 18 minutes. Santa Anna was captured and surrendered the following day. He was held as prisoner of war for three weeks then signed the peace treaty that paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country. Sam Houston became a national celebrity and the cries of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” became part of Texan legend.
Here are a few pictures of the State Capitol building and grounds from our trip to Austin in April 2015. Thanks to my brother,his wife and their new in-law for finding and sharing the postcard.
Texas State Capitol Building
Senate Chamber, Texas State Capitol
Capitol Building and grounds
Civil War Cannon
House of Representatives
Looking down on the State Seal and lower balconies
Looking up at the dome